Homilies on Genesis and Exodus

By Ronald E. Heine; Origen | Go to book overview

HOMILY VI
On Abimelech, King of the Philistines: How he wished to take Sara in marriage

WE HAVE HEARD READ FROM THE BOOK OF GENESIS the story where it is related that after the appearance of the three men, after the destruction of Sodom and the salvation of Lot either due to his hospitality or because of his kinship to Abraham, " Abraham departed thence," the text says, "to the south" and came to the king of the Philistines.1 It is related also that he made an agreement with Sara his wife that she should not say that she was Abraham's wife, but his sister.2 It is also said that king Abimelech took her, but God went in to Abimelech at night and said to him: "You have not touched this woman, and I have not permitted you to touch her, etc."3 But after this Abimelech gave Sara back to her husband and at the same time rebuked Abraham for not having told him the truth. It is also related that, as a prophet, Abraham prayed for Abimelech, "and the Lord healed Abimelech and his wife and his handmaids."4 And the omnipotent God was concerned to heal even the handmaids of Abimelech, "since he had closed up" the text says, "their wombs that they might not bear."5 But they began to bear because of Abraham's prayer.

If anyone wishes to hear and understand these words literally he ought to gather with the Jews rather than with the Christians. But if he wishes to be a Christian and a disciple of Paul, let him hear Paul saying that "the Law is spiritual"6 [and]7

____________________
1
Gn 20.1.
2
Cf. Gn 20.2.
3
Cf. Gn 20.3,4,6.
4
Cf. Gn 20.17.
5
Cf. Gn 20.18.
6
Rom 7.14.
7
Et is adopted by Baehrens from Aldus Manutius and Delarue. It is lacking in the MSS.

-121-

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